The need is real.
The majority of Avalon households have experienced generational poverty and trauma. Many have become disconnected from family, friends and other support systems. Our supportive housing residents are resilient, and they’ve had to develop important survival skills. Building trust, relationships and community with our clients is the foundation of our work.
The Washtenaw Housing Alliance estimates that 5,000 people will experience homelessness in Washtenaw County in 2017. A County Housing Affordability and Economic Equity study published in 2015 identified the need for 3,139 new affordable housing units in Washtenaw County over the next 18 years.
All Avalon supportive housing residents have incomes at or below 30% of the Area Media Income (AMI), which means that they live on $18,550 or less per year for a one-person household, or $26,500 or less per year for a family of four. More than half of our residents have incomes of less than $800 per month.
More information about Washtenaw County Fair Market Rents and Income Limits is available here.
Bethany came to Michigan by way of New Mexico back in 2004. She was a single mom, homeless and struggling with alcohol use. After treatment, where she was encouraged to stay long-term and place her sons in foster care, she regained custody of her two sons. She eventually came to Avalon, where’s she lived ever since. For many years, her Avalon case managers have provided support and stability to her family. At one point Bethany, a licensed nurse, returned to school at Schoolcraft College to complete her nursing degree and obtain her RN license. In 2015, though, she retired from nursing after she relapsed, got a DUI and could not afford the cost to maintain her nursing license.
During the next few years, Bethany says, she was “still struggling and feeling more lost than I ever had.” She was sober again for a year but then relapsed again. Finally, her life began to change once she accepted that she needed help to stay in recovery. She set up weekly meetings with her case manager, Amber. Avalon’s Supported Employment Coordinator and Amber then approached Bethany about potentially working for Avalon.
Bethany started working part-time as an Avalon Transportation Support Specialist. In that role, she has been responsible for contacting Avalon clients by phone, scheduling their transportation times and routes and driving clients to fixed locations. A large part of her role involves outreach – listening to and engaging with Avalon residents.
The Supported Employment program has not only provided Bethany with her current job, but it’s led her to explore future job possibilities and provided a path to get there. As Bethany says, “My SE position has confirmed that I’m on the right job path. Listening, talking and relating to people, especially when they’re anxious or agitated, comes naturally to me. I understand, I’ve been there. You could say it’s a calling.”
My name is Lonnie. I haven’t always had a good job and a stable place to call home, but I do now. This is my story.
After being sent to prison in my 20’s, I spent the next 30 years of my life stuck in a cycle of prison and parole. Each time I was released, I was homeless and jobless with nowhere to turn. Eventually, in 2015 I was approached on the street by Avalon’s Rapid Rehousing Team. I hadn’t had a real home in over 3 decades. With the help of Avalon, my life changed for good.